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Pakistani hackers “retaliate” with attacks on MoS’ website, Indian diplomats; mock Modi

Sources say that the hacking attempts might be “in retaliation” to the brief arrest of a Pakistani diplomat in New Delhi on Sunday

Dhairya Maheshwari

The website of Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat was found hacked on Monday morning, a cyber attack believed to be sourced from Pakistan. The hackers left behind a flag of Pakistan on the landing page, a provocative slogan "Pakistan zindabad" and a message for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In separate hacking attacks later in the day, the social media accounts of two Indian diplomats in Pakistan were found to be hacked. In one of the instances, several attempts were made to log in to the Facebook account of the Indian official, following which Facebook sent out an email alerting the concerned diplomat.

In the morning's attack on Shekhawat's website, the hackers mocked the PM over the recent spate of movie flicks, including recently released Uri: The Surgical Strike and Phantom, which released in 2015. "You can just make movies, not attack," read a message on the website of Shekhawat, the Minister of State (MoS) for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.

Pakistani hackers “retaliate” with  attacks on MoS’ website, Indian diplomats; mock Modi
Pakistani hackers on Monday broke into the website of Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

While Uri is a representation of events that took place during the much publicised surgical strikes under the Narendra Modi government, Phantom was a fictitious story of an Indian trooper who sought out to avenge the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

The Indian agencies are believed to be preparing counter-attack in response to the brazen cyber-attack on Monday, sources say, adding that several similar attacks in the past are found to have "imprints” of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's spy agency.

"All the cyber-attacks appear to be a co-ordinated response by Pakistani hackers, supervised by the ISI," say sources.

Sources further say that the hacking attempts might be "in retaliation" to the brief arrest of an official from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi on Sunday. The said official was detained by the police after he got into an argument with a woman, but was later released as he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

In the past, Indian experts have rued the lack of India's cyber preparedness to deal with cross-boundary threats, which they say lag the capabilities of even Pakistan. "Even Pakistan is better than us when it comes to countering cyber threats,” cyber expert Dr Nishikant Ojha had told NH last week.

French ethical hacker breaches PM’s website

In another embarrassment for the government, a French ethical hacker claimed on Twitter on the same day that someone had managed to get access to PM Modi’s database by hacking into his site.

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Published: 14 Jan 2019, 8:11 PM